The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

A Nation That Shall Dwell Alone — With a little help from its friends

with one comment

By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 1, 2012

In February 2012, The Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, which describes itself as “a non-partisan and independent institute, [that] seeks to contribute to the advancement of Middle East peace and security by conducting policy-relevant research on strategic subjects, particularly as they relate to the national security and foreign policy of Israel,” published a policy study on “The 2011 Arab Uprisings and Israel’s National Security.” In a section entitled “Forging Strategic Alliances,” BESA Director Prof. Efraim Inbar offers an interesting insight into the Center’s views on Washington’s role in advancing an Israel-centric regional “peace and security”:

Despite the decline of American influence in the Middle East, Israel has no choice but to continue to nurture its strategic partnership with the US. The US is likely to remain the dominant global power for a long time, and its decline in the Middle East is probably temporary. The shared values of the two countries and the large and stable support for the Jewish state in American society makes this country the best possible ally. Israel’s foreign policy should adapt to the differences of opinion and even conflict of interests between a large power and its small ally in such a way as to assure continued American friendship and support. In the final analysis, the developments in Washington are much more important for Jerusalem than those in the region.

As long as Israel enjoys America’s friendship, regional isolation will be easier to overcome. Nevertheless, Israel has an obvious interest in fostering good relations and maintaining peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Its duty is to attempt to forge strategic partnerships with regional powers so as to increase its freedom of action. Reducing its isolation will also help in lessening the burden of the Israeli alliance on Washington. Realpolitik can create partnerships between strange bedfellows: for instance, a Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and a Jewish Israel joined against Iran. This rationale may also appeal to the Sunnis in Iraq or to the Kurds, who could reemerge as a useful ally for Israel, limiting its isolation. The new state of South Sudan looks to Israel for support and could become a regional ally. All anti-Islamist groups in the region, primarily minorities such as the Druze, Christian Lebanese, or Assyrians in Syria and Iraq are probably interested in forging ties with a strong Israel, although they may fear that cooperation with the Jewish state is too dangerous.

In truth, regional isolation is bearable. After all, a modern, affluent, democratic and powerful Israel hardly wants to integrate into a region characterized by despotism, corruption, ignorance and poverty. Apart from modest economic benefits, the Middle East has limited attraction for an Israel that basically wants to be left alone by its neighbors.

Furthermore, Israel can find partners in the eastern Mediterranean to compensate somewhat for the loss of Turkey’s friendship. Greece and Cyprus are courting Israel, strengthening Western presence in the eastern Mediterranean. Italy, in close proximity, also has excellent relations with Israel, which can be further developed. Hopefully, the US will recognize its reciprocal interests in this region and project power through its 6th Fleet to prevent this area from becoming an Islamic lake.

No doubt Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is a member of BESA’S International Advisory Board, and Israel’s other advocates in Washington can be relied upon “to assure continued American friendship and support” to prevent the Jewish state’s despotic, corrupt, ignorant and poor neighbourhood “from becoming an Islamic lake”; at least until America’s inevitable decline — due in no small part to its “friendship and support” for Israel — leaves Tel Aviv with “no choice” but to “nurture” alternative strategic partnerships.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

May 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. “Hopefully, the US will recognize its reciprocal interests in this region” “Reciprocal interests”? The only reciprocal interests being recognized in the US at the moment are the ones between self-serving politicians and Israelist pressure groups.

    Duncan

    June 1, 2012 at 1:56 am


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